Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Take your medicine!

Hi all!

Our work at the Burch House over the past few sweltering days (a special thanks to our volunteers for braving the sun, bugs, and humidity!) has produced some exciting finds, but for today's blog I though I would revisit a bottle we find a couple weeks ago.

This embossed lettering on this aqua bottle reads "COMPOUND PECTORAL" on one of the large sides with "JW BULL'S" and "BALTIMORE" embossed on the two small sides. It was found in Stratum 2 of Unit 84.

"JW BULL'S" refers to the Rev. Dr. John W Bull, the doctor responsible for coming up with the recipe for this compound. August Vogeler, who first manufactured drugs and chemicals in Baltimore starting in 1845, acquired Dr. Bull's recipes in 1873 and partnered with Adolph C. Meyer. By 1883 the company was known as A.C. Meyer and Co, and profited from sales of Dr. Bull's family medicines. As far as the contents of the compound go, it is likely that it was a mix of extracts and herbs intended to alleviate a cough, though without additional research it is impossible to know for sure. I suspect that it was cherry flavored (yuck!), given that this was the most common flavoring for cough medicines. This particular bottle likely dates to some time between 1880 and 1910, given that is is molded with a tooled finish, meaning that the mold seam stops short of the rim and a finishing tool was used to more particularly shape the rim (click on the image to the right for a close-up example). Thanks to the SHA bottle dating website for the picture as well as information on bottle types and finishes.

Hope to see you all out in the field! We will be out tomorrow as well as a couple of days next week, if the weather will allow it!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dr Bull's coigh mixture had morphine as its primary active ingredient.